Reading: Isaiah 53:4-9 (older children can read the entire chapter)
Imagine that you are a young prince in the Middle Ages. What are the many advantages that you would have? I think one of the best ones would be your own personal whipping boy. Imagine not ever getting punished for anything, but instead having someone around to stand in for you and receive your punishment! “Yes, Father, you are right, I did steal a cookie…. Mickey, hold out your hand for Father to spank.”
Now tell me, if that were happening today, who would you pick to be your whipping boy? Do you have someone in mind? Would you pick your best friend, a stranger, or an enemy? What if you were someone’s whipping boy? For whom would you be willing to do that service?
These verses in Isaiah show us the punishment that Christ received in place of men. We cannot compare Him to a mere whipping boy, because the punishment He received was far greater, and led to His death. Yet He received it willingly. How do these verses describe what happened to Him? How do they describe His willingness?
Can you imagine a prince being a peasant’s whipping boy in the Middle Ages? Yet Christ the King took the punishment for man, whom He created.
I hope that today you will think hard about the sacrifice that Christ made for men. When sin lies heavily upon our hearts, there is a wonderful hope waiting for us: the knowledge that Christ has already borne the punishment for it. These verses in Isaiah are dark and sad, but they also contain a wonderful, saving message.
For Further Study:
- Read Isaiah 53:1-3. Christ did not have the kind of face or body that seemed “kingly.” In fact, most people who knew Him on earth were amazed at how “ordinary” in appearance He was. Read Matthew 13:54-58; John 1:45-46; and Mark 15:16-20. What do these verses tell us about the power of the gospel? What do they tell us about the faith of Christ’s followers? What do they tell us about the way we should think of appearances, family ties, and worldly accomplishments?
- Read the account of Christ’s trial & crucifixion from one of the gospels today: Matthew 26:47-27:56; or Mark 14: 43-15:41; or Luke 22:54-23:49; or John 18:12-19:30. Note how the prophecies in Isaiah 53 were fulfilled.
- How willingly do you (or don’t you) receive punishment? How would you feel and act towards your sibling or friend, if they willingly and silently received punishment that was intended for you?